About this expedition

Hi!  My name is Janet Moreland.  I graduated from the University of Missouri on December 14, 2012, magna cum laude, as a non-traditional student at age 56.  After seven long years, while working full time with the university and attending school part time, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Education and am now certified to teach grades 5-9 Social Studies and Science.

Commencement Day (with my daughter Haley)
Commencement Day (with my daughter Haley)

I am embarking upon this trek for three important reasons.  First, it is believed I will be the first woman to paddle solo the 2600-mile Missouri River from its  source at Brower’s Spring, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri.  The Missouri River is the longest river in North America and, as part of the Missouri/Mississippi River system, it is the fourth longest river in the world.  This is a challenging expedition and I intend to bring my “I-can-do” attitude into my future middle-school classrooms, a place where young adolescents often struggle with their self-esteem and question their abilities.  I want all school-age children to know and believe that they can be successful in any endeavor if they have the desire, a positive attitude, and encouragement and support to help them accomplish their goal.  The future of our society needs this kind of mind-set in our young people.


Second, I hope to transform my experiences on this journey into teaching and curriculum opportunities, and I would like to write a book about my experiences.  The Missouri River is an interdisciplinary treasure chest full of jewels to teach us about our nation’s cultural history, geography, natural environment, and social interactions.  It is truly a living laboratory!

Lesson plan from "Our Mississippi"
Lesson plan from “Our Mississippi”

Third, I would like to generate a greater awareness of this country’s most precious resource, the Missouri River, and inform communities how they may become engaged stewards of the river.  Missouri River Relief, a grass roots non-profit organization, has demonstrated this concept for over ten years.

MRR has hosted 104 Missouri River clean-ups, bringing 17,906 volunteers to clean 718 tons of trash from 863 miles of the river.

The Barge, during Clean Sweep 2011
The Barge, during Clean Sweep 2011

The organization emerged organically from a group of people in mid-Missouri who simultaneously recognized the need for engaged stewardship of the Missouri River and the desire of citizens to take part in watershed solutions.  They are responsible for numerous Missouri River clean-ups, river festivals, and education events on the river geared toward students, teachers, and communities.  Missouri River Relief’s reaches extend from St. Louis, Missouri, all the way up to Yankton, South Dakota.  Generating awareness of this valuable hands-on organization is important to my mission.

Clean up volunteers receiving instructions

I believe it is important for students (and communities) to get out on the rivers and help clean up America’s waterways.  This promotes a sense of environmental responsibility, encourages respect for the natural world, and provides an occasion to give back to society.   Once an individual has taken part in a river clean-up, further learning about our nation’s rivers and their watersheds is enhanced and becomes more meaningful.   Ideally, river communities everywhere will begin to develop their own Stream Teams.

Washington riverside education experience
Washington Riverside Education Experience
Douglass High School River Clean Up
River Warrior
On-the-River Education
Next Generation in Omaha, Nebraska

As a member of an active river community for the past 16 years in Columbia, Missouri, the Missouri River has grown near and dear to my heart.  Naturally, this expedition is extremely important to me.  Please join me in this challenging and stimulating learning adventure as I plan and prepare, and while I paddle down the entire length of the Big Muddy beginning in the spring of 2013.

Live fast ~ paddle slow



15 thoughts on “About this expedition

  1. The children are our teachers, future leaders, our caretakers and preachers. Teach them well my friend and our world will never end.

  2. Wow- I knew you were awesome- but wow! Wish I could come along- but I get the solo thing! Paddle on! Let me know if I can come do some practice runs with you:) Terri

  3. Hi Janet, came across your blog via a paddler who follows you…we met on the Great River Rumble and paddled 156 miles on the Missouri – Jeff City to Confluence…this will be an easy section for you. As a fellow paddler, I can completely understand your need and desire to accomplish this monumental, historical trip. You will have me in your corner praying for you and paddling vicariously with you on your journey. Borrowing words from a song I so enjoy…
    I hope the waters you cross are calm and still
    and take you to where you seek
    but should the winds start to blow just where it will
    May your paddle be true and deep.
    I hope the skies above you are always blue
    and your journey will flow downstream
    Should the currents rise up to challenge you
    May your paddle be true and deep.
    And know you have a kindred spirit to guide you on your way
    In the silence you can hear it
    Just a breath away.
    And when your travels have ended and taken you far
    And all your wishes are within your reach
    May you look back in wonder and know that your heart and your paddle were always true and deep.
    Jerry Vandiver

  4. Do you have your posts through the wild and scenic Missouri River in Montana? I am interested in doing that section of the river summer 2016 in a kayak.

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